MPs have been discussing the ‘cruel’ benefit cap: Have you been affected by this?
"The Government’s controversial benefit cap, which limits the amount a household can receive in state support, is unfairly and crudely penalising people who are too ill to work or are not expected to look for employment, an influential group of MPs has said today (Tuesday).
The Work and Pensions Committee (WPC) found that 82% of households who are currently affected by the Benefit Cap “simply cannot escape it”, due to poor health or other circumstances.
In it’s new report, the WPC points out that only 18% of capped households have been assessed by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) as being capable and expected to look for work.
The shocking findings have led to calls for the DWP to exempt anyone who isn’t expected to look for work from the cap, which was first introduced in 2013 and is currently set at £23,000 in London and £20,000 outside of London."
The Committee also warned that “the cap will cut more deeply under Universal Credit, where it can eat into all of a household’s income (not just housing costs as in the existing system), including into money meant for children or people currently too ill to look for work”.
When the cap was first introduced, the Government claimed it would help to “incentivise” unemployed people into finding a job and build greater fairness between people on out-of-work benefits and “those who pay for it”.
However, the Committee found that for every 100 households affected by the cap only around 5 have moved into work because of it.
“Few of these claimants will be comforted by the Minister’s flippant suggestions (in evidence to the Committee) that they simply move house, renegotiate their rent or even take in a lodger,”the Committee said.
“In reality, they are left with no way to escape the cap …. A policy aimed at people who could work but were choosing not to is now being applied to single mothers with newborn babies and people with serious health conditions.”
They also accused the DWP of “over-claiming the employment benefit of the cap”, highlighting how the UK’s Statistics Authority had cautioned the Government over its use of data and statistics to justify the cap.
Frank Field MP, Chair of the Committee, said: “It would be difficult to think of a more cruel cut.
“Benefits are being cut with the aim of driving people into work, but four in five people bearing this cut aren’t expected to work. What genius in government thought this one up?”